An orientation to autistic spectrum disorders (ASD), also known as autism, is provided, and the specific syndrome of autism and deafness is addressed. The two conditions have in common a major problem: communication. Case histories are provided, the development of treatment for autism is discussed, and the separate disorders that make up ASD are defined. Important medical conditions often present in ASD are named, and their roles in treatment and diagnosis are described. Because autism is generally regarded as increasing in prevalence, some say to epidemic proportions, there is an increase in children who are both deaf and autistic. The resulting pressure on day and residential school programs for the Deaf to accept and educate these difficult, multiply disabled children is increasing. The parents of autistic children are a sophisticated, politically active group who are demanding services through legal and legislative means, among others.